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Primary Health Networks Join Forces for Better Cancer Care

People living with cancer are set to receive better care in their own community, with all Primary Health Networks in Victoria working to increase the use of Optimal Care Pathways (OCPs) for cancer in 2019.

OCPs are national guidelines that outline the best possible cancer care for specific tumour types. Extensive work was completed in 2018 to update prostate, colorectal and oesophagogastric pathways. This year the focus is on melanoma, head and neck cancers and pancreatic cancer.

The OCPs outline key stages in a patient’s cancer journey, from diagnosis to survivorship or end-of-life-care. They also detail the expected optimal care at each stage to ensure everyone diagnosed with cancer gets the best care possible, regardless of where they live or where they get cancer treatment.

Gippsland Primary Health Network (PHN) continue the work to increase awareness of OCPs, including education and training opportunities and providing general practitioners with a localised pathway for melanoma via Gippsland HealthPathways which have been developed to reflect optimal cancer care guidelines.

Melanoma is the fifth most commonly diagnosed cancer in Gippsland with an average of 164 new diagnoses each year.[1]

Gippsland PHN is also working on a suite of education sessions aimed at improving knowledge of latest melanoma treatments. They are hosting a workshop along with multiple forums across Gippsland.

Chair of the Victorian and Tasmanian PHN Alliance and North Western Melbourne Primary Health Network CEO Adjunct Associate Professor Christopher Carter said the Optimal Care Pathways are an important way to support GPs to provide the best care for their patients.

“The OCPs provide health professionals with a consistent nationwide approach to specific cancer care that is based on current best practice guidelines and research,” Associate Professor Carter said.

“GPs may not see cancer patients often, so it’s vital that when they do, they can easily access agreed and consistent guidelines and know how and where to refer patients if required.”

For more information visit the Gippsland PHN web site; Optimal Care Pathways and Gippsland HealthPathways

[1] Victorian Cancer Statistics, Cancer Council Victoria; http://vcrdata.cancervic.org.au/vs/